L’inflation and the expensive prices they also affect the Italian packaging sector honey: in the last year 14.1 thousand tons of product were sold, with a decrease of 5.7% on the same July 2021/2022 interval – data in line with the drop in sales recorded for the food sector (source: Nielsen) – for a total of 32 million packages and a per capita consumption of 400/450 grams (source: Italian Union food). The market it is worth a total of around 164 million euros (source: IRI), +3.5% compared to 2021. Added to this is the value of the honey market intended for industries (food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals) which use it as an ingredient and which in 2022 reached 21 million euros (+16%). All for a total of 185 million euros (+5% on 2021).
In the face of a slightly growing turnover, they are companies’ production and margins fellcontraction due to increasing cost of raw materials, packaging materials, such as glass, and transport. To these, add the climatic anomalies which affect the productivity of the flower’s nectar and therefore the consequent production of honey. Export data is decreasing, mainly towards European countries, to underline the absence of an effective product promotion activity that can enhance excellence. The Italian honey packaging sector is made up of small and medium-sized businesses, almost entirely family-run, born in the beekeeping sector and then evolved over time, acquiring the ability to package and market.
“For a couple of years the scenario has been very delicate for Italian honey producers and the industry that packages it; a situation that had never occurred in 60 years, a truly worrying combination of inflation, high prices, increases in production costs and climatic adversities”, he explains Raffaele Terruzzipresident of Group honey and other hive products Of Italian food union.
There are many parameters that Italian companies must respect for a product to be defined as honey: from the analysis to search for unwanted substances such as residues of antibiotics, pesticides and heavy metals, up to those on the chemical-physical characteristics, color and taste. The checks to which honey is subjected are increasingly important to ensure the absence of substances foreign to its composition, carried out upstream from the beekeeper to the supplier, up to the packaging phase with tests that prove its origin, traceability and health and hygiene safety.
For each ton of honey packaged, companies belonging to the Italian Food Union (around 80% of the honey market on the shelf) spend around 60 to 70 euros to carry out checks and guarantee that the honey used for packaging, regardless of its origin, – whether from Italy or abroad – is of quality. The same process applies to honey used as an ingredient for other food products.